While out walking, Mike found an American Toad, Bufo americanus, in a load of trouble. Apparently, an Eastern Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, had snuck up on the toad and was proceeding to eat it alive. WARNING-The following pictures are a bit graphic.
I have never seen a garter snake eat a toad, and never imagined they could swallow a toad that large. Amazing! (Mmmmffff, delicious toad burger.)This pic really shows the toad puffed up. One of the toad's defense mechanisms is to inflate himself to appear larger and to make it difficult for the snake to swallow him. The toad has its legs spread out to further deter the snake. (I am gianormous, you cannot eat me, snake.)
Here the snake has really expanded its jaw to swallow the toad. They can unhinge their jaw to swallow prey much larger than their head. If we could do this, we could swallow a melon whole. It also looks like the toad has given in to its fate.
This photo is great because it looks as if the snake has arms. By now, I would think the toad knows it is a goner.
This photo shows the large lump the toad has made in the snake's belly.
This last look shows the toad's leg pushing against the side of the snakes belly. Is he kicking? Waving goodbye? Or possibly another common American hand signal... Poor toad!
Thanks, Mike for the great pics!
For more critters from all over, visit Critter Camera.